# Puzzling Measurement of "Big G" Gravitational Constant Ignites Debate [Slide Show]

Despite dozens of measurements over more than 200 years, we still don’t know how strong gravity is

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## The Pull of Gravity:

Inside this laboratory at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) in Sèvres, France, researchers undertook a meticulous 10-year experiment to measure the strength of gravity....[More]

## Torsion Balance:

To measure the gravitational constant, the researchers used a torsion balance (pictured here, partially dismantled). Toward the center are four small test masses, which weigh 1.2 kilograms each....[More]

Delicate Measures:

The position of a test mass (copper-colored cylinders) is being measured by the feeler (small, red sphere) of an instrument called a coordinate-measuring machine (black tool).

[Link to this slide]
Credit: Terry Quinn

## Weight-Bearing:

One end of a copper–beryllium torsion strip just 30 micrometers thick, 1.5 millimeters wide and 160 millimeters long, is shown here being held by a massive clamping block....[More]

## Moment of Inertia:

To measure big G as accurately as possible, all aspects of the apparatus must be well understood. Scientists measure the torsion balance’s moment of inertia by placing two stainless steel balls on it at the end of the experiment....[More]

## Lights and Mirrors:

In the experiment, gravity attracts the test weights to the source masses, causing the torsion balance to rotate. This rotation (angular deflection) is measured by light bouncing off a mirror on the apparatus....[More]

## Calibrating the Experiment:

Researchers measure the thickness of the torsion balance in multiple positions in order to calculate its moment of inertia. Learning this property is necessary to understand the apparatus’s gravity-induced rotation....[More]

Precision Measurements:

Terry Quinn, leader of the BIPM’s experiment, uses the coordinate-measuring machine. Quinn previously led a separate attempt to measure the gravitational constant in 2001.

[Link to this slide]
Credit: Terry Quinn

## Collaborators:

Terry Quinn (left) and his fellow researcher Clive Speake of the University of Birmingham in England stand with their gravitational constant experiment at the BIPM....[More]

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1. 1. PhilSCV 01:36 PM 9/18/13

At what point do we stop calling something a Constant when it seems as though it is anything but constant?

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2. 2. bwiley1 02:11 PM 9/18/13

For all we know about gravity, from Newton to Einstein till present, there is still arguably no area in physics where so many people have labored for so long with still no concrete all-encompassing definition of what it actually is and how it is manifested under all circumstances. Gravity is acceleration? Gravitons and gravity waves as another example of particle/wave duality? Dark matter? With so many other fundamental constants subject to refinement as our measurement technologies improve is this really a surprise? Every four years, a task force of the Committee on Data for Science and Technology in Paris releases an updated determination of the values and uncertainties of more than 300 physical constants ranging from the speed of light to the masses of leptons and more. Not saying the ongoing study and cross-checking of the value of G isn’t worthwhile – it is absolutely necessary – but it seems like just another incremental step in refining our understanding and not a source of embarrassment or consternation.

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3. 3. RSchmidt in reply to PhilSCV 02:19 PM 9/18/13

When we know isn't a constant. Physics doesn't find it sufficient to say, it seems to be x therefore it is x.

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4. 4. jpdickey 04:45 PM 9/18/13

If gravity is a bit stronger than thought, how much less dark matter do we need to hold together the Milky Way? One piece of evidence for dark matter is that there is not thought to be enough normal matter to hold the Milky Way together. It seems stronger gravity should mean that the normal matter would come closer to holding the galaxy together. The same would be true of other galaxies. So the overall amount of dark matter in the universe would less than currently thought.

It should make a great deal more than 241 parts per million difference, but would it be enough to change the general picture?

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5. 5. hankroberts 05:41 PM 9/18/13

So, say a lump of dark matter happens to be passing through the area--does that cause a transitory variation in G?

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6. 6. jpdickey 06:03 PM 9/18/13

Funny story, maybe. We did a version of this experiment in 1964 or 65 for a physics class lab at the University of Michigan. It was set up in the basement hallway of the Physics and Astronomy Building. As I recall, when we flipped one ball, a mirror reflected light onto the wall to show how much the wire holding the other ball twisted. Initially, there was quite a large movement, and the light would swing back and forth a number of times, each swing getting a little shorter. We had only limited time on the equipment. We carefully recorded the distance of each swing, right and left, which probably allowed us to calculate the expected equilibrium position. Unfortunately, the light swung more than we expected. You can imagine our disconcert as we watched the light swing to the right past the end of the hall and onto an elevator frame on its first swing. We got some good measurements on the flat wall for some later, smaller swings, and diligently tried to apply geometry to the first swings.

We calculated a value for G that was consistent with the values accepted at the time. But I am sure the uncertainty was a bit too high for it to weigh in on the issues raised by this article.

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7. 7. m in reply to RDH 10:10 PM 9/18/13

I believe that matter doesn't have states, the old electron orbiting a nucleus based on energy levels was disproved I believe. However for humans, we can better understand the problems when we look at them in discrete chunks and mathematically rearrange them.

Much like electromagnetic radiation, its a continuum of values and we assign our understanding to it, like visible light. Visible light is "meaningless" per se, there are many animals that can see light that isn't in the human range. Yet we have labelled this light to make it easier for our understanding, which really i question sometimes.

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8. 8. jtdwyer in reply to jpdickey 03:11 AM 9/19/13

Interesting anecdote!

"One piece of evidence for dark matter is that there is not thought to be enough normal matter to hold the Milky Way together."

I'm a retired information systems analyst, not a physicist nor mathematician, but I think you'll find that the methods used to evaluate spiral galaxies generally presumed that all gravitational potential was located at the galactic center (there is only one 'r' parameter for each test particle) - like the Solar system. At large 'r' values, a great deal of mass would be required to counter expected centrifugal forces.

However, spiral galaxy mass is distributed among (in the MW's case) ~100 billion stars & other masses throughout a disk ~100K light years in diameter. A peripheral object most strongly interacts gravitationally with millions of its neighbors - most very generally of comparable masses.

So the simple equations used to evaluate isolated planets in the Solar system, each independently orbiting the Sun, do not produce correct results when 'forcefully' applied to the mass configurations of spiral galaxies. They are a better fit for elliptical galaxies, which generally do not seem to require significant amounts of compensatory dark matter...

For a report of a recent presentation of essentially this same argument by an immanent mathematician, see
http://www.siam.org/pdf/news/2094.pdf

For a brief informal essay making a similar case and presenting published references offering successful alternative methods, see
http://fqxi.org/data/essay-contest-files/Dwyer_FQXi_2012__Questionin_1.pdf

For gravitational lensing evidence against extended dark matter halos, see
http://arxiv.org/abs/1303.6896

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9. 9. jfranca 04:09 AM 9/19/13

May be the "active gravitational mass" (the source of gravity) is not exactly the same mass we measure...
The measured mass of an atom is smaller than the mass of its particles (the nuclear binding energy, and the much smaller electron binding energy). If the "active gravitational mass" is not affected exactly the same way you can get a smaller value of G if you use elements with small binding energy like beryllium than elements with high binding energy like iron.

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10. 10. jtdwyer 07:56 AM 9/19/13

"Still, it’s possible that the incompatible measurements are pointing to unknown subtleties of gravity—perhaps its strength varies depending on how it’s measured or where on Earth the measurements are being made?"

It would seem most prudent to systematically repeat at least some selected measurement experiments in different locations, varying altitude and perhaps local mass densities of the Earth, perhaps even in Earth orbit - to identify these potential sources of variation.

As I understand, the relativistic curvature of spacetime is nonlinear - increasing with proximity and mass density.

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11. 11. Wayne Williamson in reply to jtdwyer 05:01 PM 9/19/13

Good point James, what they are really trying to measure is the curvature of spacetime between two masses.

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12. 12. debu 01:47 AM 9/20/13

Due to non isotropic dark energy or what we called ether ,our universe is different beyond our solar system and as in COULOMBS LAW we have to introduce PERMEABILITY FACTOR IN NEWTONS EQUATION. The revised equation will be F=P.G.M.M/R.R .Read ether=gravity=dark energy theory of graviethertons published by DURGADASDATTA.

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13. 13. SaintPiran 07:04 AM 9/20/13

Gravimetrics SHOULD alter with geographic locale, it almost goes without saying. Every object surrounding the experiment will exert a small error into the measurement - the surrounding terrain, buildings, even the positions of the experimenters themselves!
It must be ascertained that these influences are correctly adjusted for ~ and I'm uncertain whether experimenters actually do manage to do this.
Only once a correct margin for error has been calculated and reduced by two degrees of magnitude at very least to the measured sig.figs., should the measurement be deemed acceptable.

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14. 14. jtdwyer in reply to SaintPiran 10:24 AM 9/20/13

As stated in comment #11 - I agree that geodesic effects likely influence precise measurements of gravitation.

I don't think this has been accounted for. Earlier reports referenced in the current (2011) CODATA document
http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/pdf/RevModPhysCODATA2010.pdf
can be freely accessed at
http://arxiv.org/abs/1008.3203
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/26721119_Determination_of_the_Newtonian_gravitational_constant_G_with_time-of-swing_method

Unfortunately, the paper discussed in this article is not freely available. Howeveer, a synopsis can be accessed at
http://physics.aps.org/synopsis-for/10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.101102

Also see
http://phys.org/news/2013-09-gravitational-constant-higher.html

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15. 15. teilhard 04:46 PM 9/20/13

Airforce experiments many years ago determined that the so-called constant of gravity was subject to another unnamed force. However, I would maintain that the unnamed force is the strong force in the atom, as revealed in Asymptotic Freedom, which is one in the same with a Unified field of love and soul consciousness whose principle is the universal urge to unite.

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16. 16. lordoxford 06:39 PM 9/20/13

To jtdwyer:
Imagine the earth to be a solid sphere. Imagine a tunnel bored right through, including the geometric centre. At that central point there'd be no gravitational force whatever. You could jump into the hole and accelerate up to the velocity of a low-orbit satellite (at the very centre). You'd just reach ground level in about 45 minutes, stationary, at the other end of the tunnel and then start your journey back, arriving where you started, at rest again (air resistance neglected, of course!)after a 90 minute trip.
Presumably there is such a "Centre" for every galaxy.

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17. 17. lordoxford 06:51 PM 9/20/13

So: it should be possible on a space station in free fall to arrange an evacuated massive sphere, with a hole bored through it containing a small ball bearing travelling back & forth, to count and time the oscillations. No?

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18. 18. mihrant in reply to jpdickey 07:10 PM 9/20/13

Your comment reminded me of doing the Cavendish experiment in a Modern (!)Physics Lab in the late 40s at Stanford University in a class taught by W. Hansen. We were told about the lengthy time it would take for the pendulum to settle down (weeks, months?) and were asked to devise a solution to that problem. We were also given the period of the pendulum which as I recall was 45 minutes(important!). We came up with a clever solution.

We put the weight down for 1/8 of a period of the pendulum, then raised it for 1/8 of a period, finally putting it down at the 1/4 period mark. Initially, the pendulum starts to rotate sinusoidally; when the weight is removed it starts to coast to a stop, again sinusoidally; when the weight is finally replaced, the pendulum is at its equilibrium position -- the position it would have settled at after months of oscillation. Draw the picture to convince yourself.

I do not remember whether the answer we got for G was reasonable, but I have always remembered the principle described above. I have applied it to the onset of the last interglacial, during which the rise of global temperature was interrupted for 2000 years (roughly 1/8 of a 16,000 year astronomical cycle of insolation) then resumed. I believe this prevented the 2 degree overshoot of temperature that was present at the start of three previous interglacials. The result was the unusually flat character of our present interglacial. I discuss this in the last part of my Youtube video on astronomical causes of climate. I would enjoy discussing this further with anyone that is interested.

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19. 19. jtdwyer in reply to lordoxford 08:54 PM 9/20/13

"... Presumably there is such a "Centre" for every galaxy."

Imagine being on planet Earth, orbiting the Sun within the Milky Way's galactic disk. The Solar system will never fall to the galactic center.

Newton's Shell theorem applies only for an idealized spherically symmetrical distributions of mass - specifically a solid sphere of constant density. Unlike the Earth, which to a reasonable extent approximates such a distribution, spiral galaxies do not.

Unlike planets that, in effect, each independently gravitationally interact primarily with the Sun, which actually contains 99.86% of the Solar system's total mass, stars within the galactic disk each primarily interact with many millions of neighboring massive objects, far more than any collective center of galactic mass that is tens of thousands of light years away.

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20. 20. Zephir_AWT 12:51 AM 9/21/13

In AWT this effect is related to the loss of mass and dilatation of older iridium prototypes, to mysterious expansion of eccentricity of Earth around Sun and the Moon around Earth and to global warming effects. Actually it's just the reason, why the scientists are developing new prototype of mass. But I don't think, the building of new expensive prototype will fix their problem, as the constants of our Universe are mutually dependent each other. The light speed measurements drift with time too. IMO the solar system is penetrated with dense cloud of interstellar gas, which is rich of dark matter and makes the vacuum relatively heavier. The massive objects which are floating in it become relatively lighter, which is what the change of gravity constant is about. In addition, this dense vacuum spreads the light more slowly, but we cannot detect it just with laser interferometers, which are dilating inside of such environment in such a way, the speed of light appears constant. These changes can be detected with classical prototypes of time and length, which are based on material objects.

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21. 21. basudeba 08:02 AM 9/21/13

We have consistently argued that gravity is not an attractive force, but a stabilizing force. It stabilizes the two bodies by making them rotate around the barycenter. Hence it is related to masses of the bodies and the distance between their centers of mass. In this process, all bodies interact with other bodies not individually, but as systems of two bodies. For example, Earth-Moon is a system that acts with the Sun-Mercury-Venus system. If one body is displaced, all bodies would adjust accordingly. Hence all measurements show a constant value, because the whole system is stable.

The two measurements gave two different values because the measurements were along different axes. They are stabilized differently. Hence the results are expected. Similarly, if the experiment is conducted to test the gravitational strength between a solid and a fluid or a plasma particle, it will give 7 different sets of results.

mbasudeba@gmail.com

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22. 22. Miroslav 08:16 AM 9/21/13

The gravitational constant is a value of gravity and therefore men involved in measuring the gravitational constant must first understand gravitation to get the right constant. They could not say anymore that theory of gravitation is unknown to our world since it is published in the book „Attraction and Repulsion in the Universe: Explanation of Mass, Dark Energy and Dark Matter and Their Places in the Creation“. There, the first chapter explains the gravity.

Briefly: When you bind quanta of energy (elemental particles) you get matter. Hence, the matter in form of object contains huge number of quanta of energy. Still there is plenty of a free space to move since even baryons can be compressed into smallest volumes in black holes or, see creation of a Higgs boson etc. In ordinary matter (not matter of a black hole) these quanta vibrate as for instance atoms or molecules vibrate in gaseous object.
Since the creation of matter happened in past, now each object of matter looses a quantum of energy spontaneously in all direction. A density of loosen quanta falls as the distance from their source increases (gravitational force is disproportionate to the distance). Loosen quanta of energy from vibrant movement propagate as longitudinal waves, and as particle the graviton (from rotational movement it propagates as transverse wave and as particle the photon). Anyway, a loosen graviton has linear momentum. This means, its momentum can be changed during collision.
When a graviton meets a bound quantum (in the matter) moving in the same direction and at the same speed should merge with it in „sticky“ collision. Since bound quanta vibrate and their speed increases at equilibrium of their bond, they increase momentum to merged gravitons – gravitons speed up during merging. As the vibrating quantum slows after passing its equilibrium point, the graviton can release and continue on its previous speed.
If bound quanta cause gravitons to speed up, then in accordance with Newton’s Third Law the graviton should pull the associated particle in the opposite direction. That is, the graviton pulls the matter toward the graviton’s source. Since the met object must also emit gravitons, these, reaching the first object, pull it toward their source. That way we get the attractive force, which is proportionate to the mass of the first object, and to the mass of the second object, and disproportionate to the distances between them. There we need to put the gravitational constant.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EM4O45W

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23. 23. tomyee3 in reply to RDH 08:28 AM 9/21/13

RDH wrote: "Would the variations in the eigenstates of the electron in the various isotopes not be at least partially due to the difference in mass of the nuclei?" Certainly the variations are due to mass difference, but this is not a gravitational effect. The mass of the electron relative to the nucleus differs in these three isotopes. The relevant parameter is the "reduced mass" of the electron.

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24. 24. jtdwyer in reply to Miroslav 08:37 AM 9/21/13

If linearly propagating gravitons accelerate absorbing matter in the direction of their origin then, like photons, the Earth would often block gravitons emitted by the Sun from reaching the Moon. In effect, when the Moon is not full, the Earth would cast both a Solar photon and graviton 'shadow' on the Moon. As a result, the Sun's relatively small gravitational influence on the Moon (relative to the Earth's larger influence) would vary with the phases of the Moon.

This is an experimentally testable result of linearly propagating, undetected gravitons that directly mediate the exchange of gravitational effects among massive objects.

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25. 25. jtdwyer in reply to tomyee3 08:48 AM 9/21/13

As I understand, negatively charged electrons are bound to positively charged nuclei by the electromagnetic interaction, subject to the inertial effects of mass, and the kinetic energy imparted to the electron...

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26. 26. Miroslav in reply to jtdwyer 04:21 AM 9/22/13

If I understand correctly, you consider the same effect for both photons and gravitons, for transverse and for longitudinal traveling waves.

Gravitons propagate through matter and are not absorbed if vibrating quanta are giving them ride, so, they are not absorbed when cause gravitation. Therefore, any object cannot shadow them, similarly as for neutrinos. Gravitons gain higher momentum during driving on vibrant quantum in matter. They do not lose any speed in any materials. In contrary, they propagate quicker through the matter than in a vacuum.

Photons do not pass matter besides few exceptions. If they propagate through matter, they propagate slowly through transparent materials than in a vacuum. Or otherwise said, photons lose their linear momentum or a part of their linear momentum in the matter. The matter gains this loss as the physics teach (besides of mathematical physics), see the Compton Effect.
Photons which do not pass materials are absorbed by them and therefore, the Earth can shadow them. At absorption, photons lose their linear momentum and materials gain this momentum - that is why photons are responsible for pushing some objects. This is mostly observed in the universe at matter where are less vibrant quanta (less baryons). Thus, photons push mostly hydrogen away from shining objects.

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27. 27. jtdwyer in reply to Miroslav 08:18 AM 9/22/13

No, you misunderstand me.

I presume that zero rest mass photons and gravitons both linearly propagate through spacetime identically.

I presume that, for a graviton to impart a gravitational effect to a massive object, its energy must be absorbed by that object - preventing its continued propagation.

Conversely, neutrinos propagate through dense material because it does not interact with its constituent particles. For gravitons to impart any gravitational effect to material objects, it must interact with material particles. Likewise, photons do not pass through the Earth - they impart heat to it.

As a result of these two presumptions I conclude that, neither zero rest mass photons nor gravitons emitted by the Sun, could both interact with with the Earth and propagate through the Earth to the Moon.

I therefore conclude that the Earth would identically 'shadow' (absorb) both linearly propagating zero rest mass photons and gravitons emitted by the Sun. I hope I've made myself clear...

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28. 28. barrycr 08:52 AM 9/22/13

As an engineer, this article raises as simpler question. Why is there an "official number" with a precision of 5 decimal places, when the corresponding accuracy is apparently limited to 2 decimals places?

I recall a report a number of years ago (which means either or both my memory and possibly the report could be wrong) that the Voyager space crafts were diverging from the predicted path by a measurably significant amount, with no explanation. Assuming both the report and my memory are correct, does this article provide the explanation?

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29. 29. jtdwyer in reply to barrycr 09:43 AM 9/22/13

I'm only a retired information systems analyst who avoids math, but regarding the precision, the new study's abstract states
http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.101102
"... The result from the new work is: G=6.67545(18)×10^-11  m^3 kg^-1 s^-2 with a standard uncertainty of 27 ppm. This is 21 ppm below our 2001 result but 241 ppm above The CODATA 2010 value, which has an assigned uncertainty of 120 ppm. This confirms the discrepancy of our results with the CODATA value and highlights the wide divergence that now exists in recent values of G."

My memory's not much better than yours, but I think you're actually referring to the Pioneer Anomaly
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_anomaly

It is generally thought to be solved by being attributed to an engineering issue (you might like this)
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-209

The often associated planetary Flyby Anomaly is not actually related to the deep space Pioneer anomaly -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flyby_anomaly

Personally, I suspect that many conflicts in astrophysics are the result of applying simplistic approximation methods to improper problem conditions. Regarding the Flyby Anaomaly, please see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession_of_the_perihelion_of_Mercury#Perihelion_precession_of_Mercury

In a related 'dark' matter re. please see "Inappropriate Application of Kepler's Empirical Laws of Planetary Motion to Spiral Galaxies..."
http://fqxi.org/data/essay-contest-files/Dwyer_FQXi_2012__Questionin_1.pdf
Also see the remarkably similar argument presented in
http://www.siam.org/pdf/news/2094.pdf

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30. 30. Miroslav in reply to jtdwyer 10:09 AM 9/22/13

I do not agree with your presumption that graviton energy must be absorbed by the object on whom graviton impart a gravitational effect since this is impossible according to the Newton’s Third Law, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; that is, the momentum changes involved are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. The impulses are also equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.

The gravitational effect occurring on a line means the negative effect for a massive object, that is, the massive object loses a part of its momentum and so its kinetic energy. If it does not have any kinetic energy, any linear momentum, then the object gains the negative linear momentum and therefore starts to move opposite in relation to moving gravitons, starts to move to the source of gravitons, starts to move to the object which emitted our colliding gravitons.
Or, if the gravitational effect causes the object to gain the negative momentum then, gravitons must obtain the positive momentum and that is why they have to propagate also through any massive object. Hence, Sun’s gravitons continue through the Earth to the Moon if the Moon is on a line.
If your assumption could be correct then, it means „the graviton effect is repulsion of massive objects”. Your assumption “a massive object absorb energy from gravitons” goes to “Dark Energy” according to term of the mathematical physics.

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31. 31. jtdwyer 11:06 AM 9/22/13

In the most straightforward terms, if a graviton is a boson that mediates the exchange of a force interaction among fermions in accordance with quantum theory then, as I understand, it must interact with a particle of matter - otherwise no force could be exchanged. See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graviton

There are many issues with gravity theories involving gravitons - IMO gravitons are only imagined to force gravity into compliance with quantum theory...

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32. 32. raysmead 02:24 PM 9/22/13

that pendula, not pendulums

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33. 33. patrick 04:06 AM 9/23/13

In response to 33. Miroslav, Ref.para. " the graviton effect is repulsion of massive objects”. Your assumption “a massive object absorb energy from gravitons” goes to “Dark Energy” according to term of the mathematical physics."-
"Time Reversal" its the other way round, dark energy is one of the parameters to jettision the flow of Graviton' charge.

Your exposure was guided by wisdom, I appreciated your lessons, they contain a hint of a cascade,a lot in common on my thoughts:
a- Yes are right discovery of"Gravitons" is essential,for Physical & Experimental advancement, as GRAVITON speed is Relative to the space-time dimensions, in 5 -D space-time Gravitons speed is equivalent to C4 of the speed of light ,therefore in the combination 9-10-11 dimension space-time ( Torsion) during a Classical Symmetry at fixed "Time-locked", & at fixed location ,the graviton speed will be c9 (average from inertia gravity).

The speed of Graviton is guided by the Laws of INERTIA Gravity/TORQUE ENERGY DENSITY.

b)HIGG's Field is created by a Perfect,Pure,& Pristine Celestial Bodies "DYNAMICAL Geometrical Classical Symmetry"

c)resistance to motion or inertia or mass? Yes caused by the Field of Gravito-Magnetic charges.

d) Physical & experimental'objective' observation of a"Quantum Field", its Angular width is "Approx. 4.66 Degrees" during a perfect pristine homogeneous Classical Symmetry, at Fixed place at a fixed Time .

e)Space -Time perturbations is caused by the Conserved LOCKED ABSORBED ENERGIES OF INERTIA -GRAVITY---Released during Celestial Bodies classical geometrodynamical symmetrization overlapping dynamical PERIODICITIES.

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34. 34. Giulio 03:45 AM 10/1/13

Please forgive my ignorance on this subject but, I have a question. As I understand it, gravity distorts space. The most popular picture of a heavy ball resting on an elastic sheet and creating a 'divot' in the sheet comes to mind. Of course this happens in 3 dimensions and the ball on a sheet is just a sort of 2D analogy. But my question is this. The attractive force we call gravity is merely the distorted space which makes things "fall" into the gravity "well" correct? So why does there need to be a force or gravitons at all? Isn't the distorted space explanation enough for how gravity attracts? As for a constant; are we looking for the formula that says so much mass equals so much attractive force? Thanks for bearing with me and any answers would be appreciated.

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35. 35. Giulio 03:57 AM 10/1/13

I just reread my previous comment and I'd just like to make my question a little bit more clear. When I say, "Isn't the distorted space explanation enough for how gravity attracts?" What I mean by that is that, objects falling into the gravity well are merely responding to a distortion in the 'fabric' of space, not to any particular particle or true force, but simply the topology of the space its traveling through.

Hmm... thinking about that just made me almost answer one of my questions myself. I suppose what I'm missing here is... what is the correlation between mass and its distorting effect on space? A particle? A force? So I guess we do need a mechanism... I dunno... lol, someone help.

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36. 36. helioCentric 07:27 AM 10/1/13

Rupert Sheldrake highlighted the inconsistent and variable nature of many scientific constants, and was branded a pseudoscientist, had his talk censored by TED, before the criticisms were retracted for being inaccurate.

Details here:
http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/14/open-for-discussion-graham-hancock-and-rupert-sheldrake/

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